When your idea is completely out of your skill set

BardStuffBardStuff subscriber Posts: 7
edited April 2006 in Selecting a Business
I`m a lifelong computer geek.  All my education, all my career experience, all of it centers around playing with things, predicting trends, writing software, and basically anything and everything involving technology.  It`s kind of a pain, really, because "I build web sites" has really become a commodity, and having 10 years experience at it is no more valuable than having 2 years (although I`m sure people would debate that with me).  I have a full time job working in the web space, though I`m well aware that my current career path will never make me an entrepreneur.So anyway, here`s my question.  Twice recently I`ve had ideas for products that are entirely out of my skillset.  Both are more in the category of materials manipulation  (one for a children`s craft, one for a type of functional jewelry).  Neither is technical at all, they both fall under the category of "I`ve never seen that before, and I think it would be useful to me/my family."What I`m torn on is, now what?  Ideas are worth a dollar, implementations of ideas are worth a million dollars.  But I have nothing that will get me toward implementing either idea -- not the knowledge of what to do first, nor the resources to get it done, nor the connections to do something with it once they`re made.Optimistically I know what to do -- by any means necessary get some sort of prototype created, preferably a bunch of them, and then get them used by people.  Preferably sell them at a local show or something to generate a few bucks to offset the costs of building them in the first place.  Test them out, see if the design works or it has to be tweaked.  Repeat.  Put up web site.  Market heavily.  Make million dollars.    One of them I`m pretty sure I could mock up in my kitchen, but the other might just be a pipe dream.But pessimistically I tell myself that will take time and money, neither of which I have much of, for potentially no gain.  I have no expertise in the area at all, so there might be something glaringly obvious that will cause the whole idea to fail that I`m simply not seeing.  Or, worse, that the idea already exists and I just haven`t seen it yet.So maybe I`m just rambling because I`m bored here at work, but I figured I`d throw my situation out there and see what sort of advice people might have? 

Comments

  • theswaynestertheswaynester subscriber Posts: 15 Bronze Level Member
    I`m often in the same situation as you are, BardStuff.My recommendation is try to put together a team with members that are strong where you are weak.If that seems impossible, keep plugging away at it. I feel, like Kim, that there`s probably nothing you can`t do, if you`re open to learning and... making lots of mistakes.
    Matt
  • BardStuffBardStuff subscriber Posts: 7
    Mistakes cost time and money, though.  It`s quite possible that I just don`t have the stuff to be an entrepreneur.  I could go google right now for half a dozen "entrepreneurial IQ" quizzes out there and probably fail all of them on that point.  "Is your passion for your idea enough to fuel you through the tough times?"  Not when it involves feeding my children, or failing to do so.  Nope, nosirree bob.  Give me a fulltime salary and health insurance any day.Then again, maybe this just isn`t the idea for me, and the right idea, the one that will keep me up at night toiling away until it`s done, just hasn`t crossed my brain yet.I`m often in the same situation as you are, BardStuff.My recommendation is try to put together a team with members that are strong where you are weak.If that seems impossible, keep plugging away at it. I feel, like Kim, that there`s probably nothing you can`t do, if you`re open to learning and... making lots of mistakes.
    Matt
  • theswaynestertheswaynester subscriber Posts: 15 Bronze Level Member
    Double true.But I`d keep hanging in there, keeping in mind your risk tolerance. Work on things part-time and make your move when you`re comfortable.
  • starpointestarpointe subscriber Posts: 2
    Here`s the biggest question...is there a market for it?  There are millions of ideas out there but only so many of them are marketable.  Do some research.  Talk to people who aren`t in your family or circle of friends and ask them what they think of the idea.  (You`re probably concerned with `non-disclosure` but it`s extremely...highly unlikely that someone else will take your idea and run with it.  One marketing professor I had said, "I don`t care how novel an idea is...someone has already had it!  It`s just not that unique!)  If you get a good response from people, find out how much they`d be willing to pay for it?  Does the profit margin fit your needs?  What % of the people you talked with say they would definitely buy it?  You might dream up a product that would return 1000% profit but if you don`t sell any, it`s just not worth the effort.  If the numbers still look good to you, grab a pencil and a napkin and start writing a plan.  Nothing complicated, just a basic strategy for how you can make this work.I think I`ve given you enough to do for now.  When you get all that done, come back to the forums and we`ll have some more advice for ya!- Ryan JMarketing Consultant: StarPointe Marketing
    starpointe2006-4-18 17:52:22
  • BardStuffBardStuff subscriber Posts: 7
    I`m gonna throw you a curve that doesn`t fit Marketing 101, Ryan -- the target audience would be about 3 years old.  Hard to poll them.  You have to make one, put it in their hands, and see if they play with it.  And as the parent of one, trust me, you can`t simply ask mom and dad if their child will like it.  More often than not toy buying is hit or miss, you buy what you think is nice and then stand over the child saying, "Do you like it?  Oh look, she likes it."But I`ll make you a deal.  I`ll see if I can mockup one of them, and see if my daughter likes it.  If it`s not a nightmare to create, and she does like it, I`ll make up a dozen and donate them to her preschool class and see what kind of response I get.  (The good thing about the toy is that it`s non-durable.  Is that the word I`m looking for?  You play with it long enough, it runs out, you have to buy more.)  Best result is that the teacher says "Wow they loved that" and the kids all tell their parents "Look at this cool new thing" and then the parents hunt me down looking to buy them .  Worst case I just can`t make them en masse and that`s the end of that.d
    Here`s the biggest question...is there a market for it?  There are millions of ideas out there but only so many of them are marketable.  Do some research.  Talk to people who aren`t in your family or circle of friends and ask them what they think of the idea.  (You`re probably concerned with `non-disclosure` but it`s extremely...highly unlikely that someone else will take your idea and run with it.  One marketing professor I had said, "I don`t care how novel an idea is...someone has already had it!  It`s just not that unique!)  If you get a good response from people, find out how much they`d be willing to pay for it?  Does the profit margin fit your needs?  What % of the people you talked with say they would definitely buy it?  You might dream up a product that would return 1000% profit but if you don`t sell any, it`s just not worth the effort.  If the numbers still look good to you, grab a pencil and a napkin and start writing a plan.  Nothing complicated, just a basic strategy for how you can make this work.I think I`ve given you enough to do for now.  When you get all that done, come back to the forums and we`ll have some more advice for ya!- Ryan JMarketing Consultant: StarPointe Marketing
  • starpointestarpointe subscriber Posts: 2
    Great idea.  Actually testing a product is even better than surveying with any age group.  Don`t be intimidated that there are too many kids in the world for you to handle.  If the product is good enough (and you will soon know by testing it), then you can patent it and sell it to a larger corporation (if you choose to do so).  I talked to a guy from Proctor & Gamble who said the Crest SpinBrush they sell was purchased from the guy who invented the spinning lollipop you always see in the checkout line.  He took the same concept and adapted it to a new market and it did wonderfully.  (I think he called it `Dr. Dan`s Spin Brush` or something.)  
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